Friday, April 27, 2012

How to block crochet

Until recently I didn't bother to block my crochet, but I really like the tidyness of how my blocked crochet looks - less homemade and more handmade.  So here's my process, laid out in all its simplistic glory!

1. Music
2. Ironing Board
3. Iron
4. Spray Bottle
5. Old Towel (to lay crochet on)
6. Thin Teatowel (to place on top of crochet between it and the iron)
7. Pins

Warning: unfortunately this only works for natural yarns :(

Step 1: Music - I like Imelda May for this!

Step 2: Put an old towel on your ironing board (just in case the colour runs and also one you don't need!)

Step 3: Pin the crochet to the ironing board and towel.

In this scarf I added a pin about every three repeats (or an inch an a half) - there's two pins in the image below - can you spot them?  Usually I add about three pins along the row.

Step 4: Spray liberally with water.

Step 5: Place tea towel over the crochet so you don't scorch it when you iron.  Usually there's drops of water coming through the top of the tea towel - but its not soaked.

Step 6: Iron over the pinned area.  I don't use the steam function here as the added water in step 5 does its magic.

Step 7: Unpin and pin any areas not yet ironed.  Repeat until crochet is completely ironed.  

As I said, I really like the look of how the finished crochet looks.  I get rid of the curly edges as in the image below.

You can also straighten the end - in this case I had to add more pins to keep the crochet straight.  The first picture here is before blocking and before adding the last three pins.  The next image is the blocked piece.  The end is nice and straight and doesn't curl at the side either!

End result: a neat pile of crochet.

The scarf is my go to pattern for some mindless crochet as can be seen here, here and here.

This was worked up in Vero yarn from spotlight at $3.50/50g ball on sale.  Its 70% wool and 30% soya bean protein!  Colour: 44.  And the wash instructions are cool hand wash at 30 degrees. Drycleanable.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

a case of stash busting

Two lined pencil cases.  I'm really happy with how these turned out.  Bright and cheery!
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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

a blast from the past

My grandmother found one of my early cross stitch projects - Sylvester and Tweety.  I have no idea what age I was when I created this particular masterpiece but the back is hilarious!  I'm going to guess 10 as I know it was in primary school.  Thankfully my work has got a LOT neater.

Monday, April 23, 2012

painting party - round 2

I bought three vouchers for painting mugs at the same ceramics place that ran the recent painting kitchen tea I attended.  Unfortunately one of the girls who I bought a voucher for wasn't able to visit as planned so I nabbed another friend and we all set forth to paint some mugs. 

I'm fairly happy with this one and hopefully it comes out properly in the firing.  One of my friends opted for the stripped approach.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Butchers boy


I can't recall where this vintage pattern came from - but I've vague recollections of my mother giving it to me.  As that's standard Irish font in the bottom left corner, its a pretty good guess, I reckon.  

The kit contained the pre-cut pattern pieces (and a slightly mouldy smell!).
it even came with binding and elastic.


The finished items!  The apron is very light and probably could have benefitted from lining. But as I sewed it up in a sewing group I didn't have any to hand.  One of my house guests saw it when I came home - so its already got a good home to go to!

Why yes, that is a headband!  Its hilarious - very dinner lady.

Stunning, don't ya think?

Another project out - Its been very satisfying this year getting all the projects finished.  I also sewed up the cross stitch Christmas stocking but there's still a bit of work left to finish it and then find a name to cross stitch on the top.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Siding stories

We've had a tonne of house projects this year and currently the house's siding is being fixed.  If the weatherboard is cracked or rotten, we're replacing it.  If a lot is coming off we're putting insulation in behind it.  Lots of hammering and sawing and lots of scary pictures!

We had a fun afternoon tracking down the colour of the house paint.  As it turns out, its Wattyl's Flemish Blue (Deep Base, Solagard, B 144.0, E 280.0, V84.0, KX 144.0).  I love this colour and need to think about sheen's for when we get the house repainted next year.  For now we just went with the closest to the tin we already had.  One side of the house is done and we've painted a first coat of the blue.

We've also had scaffolding up for a while.  Its been hard to get in and out of the house with it though - this is our entrance walkway.

This is the other side of the house after a day's work removing the weatherboards.  There's a lot more work required here as we have to repair the struts as well and put in new insulation.

Lots of hammering and banging ahead.

But the scaffolding is pretty cool!  Unfortunately work hasn't started on the front of the house yet!

I thought I'd also fit in some good news.  When my parents were over at Christmas (very busy time for them!), Dad put a bar of wood on the outside of the patio doors to stop the wind coming in between them.  He did a great job and it looks like it should be there.  Though from the photo its obvious we have window painting to do next summer :(

Before I moved to New Zealand I didn't really understand wooden houses (and I still think they look like they're made from cardboard!).  This is the type of stuff we're fixing up at the moment - some lovely rotten planks.

But I had to end on a high point!  The garden is looking well for this time of year and my darling parents (yes, them again!) painted and repaired the fence in the front garden.  I really can't believe how much work they fitted in when they were here - we're so grateful and now I have the added bonus of thinking of them lots when I wander around the house.

Monday, April 16, 2012

The results of our painting party

Our friends got their ceramics from the painting party back.  The colours look very different once they've been fired.  BM's bowl came out great.  I love the gun and the hand-drawn cartoon look.

My friend also made this moustache cup for her new husband.

Here's a selection of the bowls and cups.  I love the green polkadots.

And my offering - I was a bit disappointed with this as the paint on the lines ran a bit and I didn't quite get the paint coverage I wanted.  But not a bad first effort.  Unfortunately the stunning octopus cup and saucer didn't make it as the handle came detached from the cup in the firing.  :(

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Sunny bunting

I had a quick finished project this weekend.  Sometime last year (or eek, I think it was the year before) I crocheted a stack of treble rectangles I wanted to turn into a cushion.  Unfortunately the yarn was very slippy and the cushion I had envisaged just wasn't taking shape.  Last week while rumaging through boxes, I came across them and quickly turned them into sunny summery bunting. 

A quick flower (ala Lucy at Attic24) added to both ends and a very happy make.

I also had the ingenious idea of using pegs to hold them onto the curtain.  Unfortunately as its coming into winter here, I can't keep them there and I've added them to the present box for the next special occasion instead.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

things I love about sewing

One of the things I love about sewing is being able to 'rescue' items I'd have to give up on before, like these two flight pillows.

Both had lost their 'bounce' and were looking sad and sunken.  

I had originally intended to rescue the black pillow but punctured a hole in it when unstitching the side.  The blue pillow was more amenable and had a hidden funnel which I used to fill up with the micro foam beads from the other pillow.

Ta-dah!  One 'good as new' airline pillow.  Long haul flights here I come (well next year definitely!)
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